Lemon Meringue Pie

Total Time:
2 hr 42 min
30 min
2 hr
12 min

6 to 8 servings

  • Lemon Filling:
  • 4 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 (9-inch) pre-baked pie shell
  • 1 recipe Meringue, recipe follows
  • Meringue Topping:
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
Lemon Filling:

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Whisk egg yolks in medium size mixing bowl and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine cornstarch, water, sugar, and salt. Whisk to combine. Turn heat on medium and, stirring frequently, bring mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and gradually, 1 whisk-full at a time, add hot mixture to egg yolks and stir until you have added at least half of the mixture.

Return egg mixture to saucepan, turn heat down to low and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and gently stir in butter, lemon juice, and zest until well combined. Pour mixture into pie shell and top with meringue while filling is still hot. Make sure meringue completely covers filling and that it goes right up to the edge of the crust. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until meringue is golden. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Make sure pie is cooled completely before slicing.

Meringue Topping:

Place egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and then gradually add sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Use to top lemon filling.

Yield: topping for 1 (9-inch) pie

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    421 Reviews
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    using the pie filling for a cake recipe and yum yum yum!!!
    Amazing... Great recipe. Just added a little more lemon.. Like the tartness.
    the best
    Geez, I gotta give Alton some props here! YEs the first time I made it, it was a "soupy mess" too. But that's not because the recipe is bad! That's because this is kind of hard to do! Sometimes things don't work the first time! You have to try again. Shoot, I don't think I've ever made a pie crust that I truly loved, but I keep making it so I can learn and improve. Keep trying! It does work and it is delicious when it does!
    Easy best lemon meringue I have ever made. Not only did it not turn out soupy it has a perfect consistency. Followed the directions exactly as given. Stirred the first step until it boiled then let it boil for a minute like it says. This recipe is great! I will be using it again.
    Soup! :(((
    Didn't read reviews either. Ended up with soup also. I thought it must thicken up after sitting. No such luck
    I helped a newbie make her first pie with lemons from her backyard. I chose this recipe just because it was Alton's, and trusted him so much that I didn't read the reviews. Big mistake. We followed the recipe to the letter and ended up with a soupy mess. The flavor was excellent, but something is off in the measurements or cooking time on this recipe. I trusted you, Alton.
    I helped a newbie make her first pie. I chose this recipe because she has fresh lemons in her backyard right now, and I trusted Alton so much that I didn't read the reviews. Big mistake. We followed the recipe exactly and were also among those who ended up with a soupy mess. The flavor was excellent, but something is off in either the measurements or the cooking time on this recipe. I trusted you, Alton.
    I've made a lot of lemon meringue pies, and this recipe was by far the worst. I followed the steps to a tee, and have a ton of pie making experience. The meringue was great but the filling was literally liquid. No, I did not do ANYTHING wrong. There just was not enough corn starch, and not enough cooking.
    I loved this recipe, and its really easy to make, but always remember to cook the pie dough before hand to make things even easier? Thanks Alton!
    Put me down in the "soupy mess" column. I did put the leftover pie in the fridge, and then the filling stiffened nicely. Was that step the show omitted? Other than the messiness, it was delicious. I might say the crust was a bit salty, but otherwise great. I was surprised at how easy the pie crust was to assemble.
    This is a very good recipe. Works perfectly. If it doesn't, then you didn't cook your custard long enough. As someone said previously, it's not really boiling, if the bubbles go away when you're stirring. A true boil will continue to bubble even if you're stirring. If it's soupy going into your pie crust, it will be soupy coming out. The oven time is only to bake the meringue *not* the custard.
    I followed this advise and watched the video posted and mine came out nice and thick no soupy mess here, thank you for your review
    Shame on you, Alton Brown! So many people who've tried this recipe and ended up with a "soupy mess" cannot be wrong. I tried increasing the cornstarch a bit, as well as cooking it on the stove a little longer. I, too, ended up with a soupy mess. There is something wrong with this recipe, either there was a typo or it simply needs to be revised.
    Soupy mess. I finally froze it so we could actually eat it without using a spoon. The problem seems to be with using four eggs rather than three, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, and then not cooking it again after adding the lemon juice and butter. Whatever, the recipe as written is a disaster. Alton, I'm surprised!
    Turned into soup despite extra corn starch! Maybe an altitude issue in Denver?
    Five stars for flavor - just tart enough and not too sweet. One star for soupy consistency. :-( The meringue was perfect.
    Amazing recipe! It was a success at first try! Thank you so much for this.
    I have long searched for a lemon pie recipe that tastes as lemony as I prefer. Thank you Alton Brown the the best lemon pie I have had since I was a kid.
    Okay, Made for the very first time day before Thanksgiving along with a chocolate pecan pie. Followed instructions to the T and had a soupy mess that I froze to make edible. Thank goodness it was only my Hubby and I. My OCD kicked and I had to find out how the Great Alton Brown recipe could be misleading. This time I cooked 5 minutes longer after adding butter,lemon zest and Perfection! My mistake totally. Being a New Orleans native I know better than to follow a recipe so close LOL! Back to Icebox Pie for Christmas as my cold dessert and Pralines and homemade divinity fudge for sides. YUM.
    Made lemon soup twice. Followed it to the T so disappointed
    I was so disapointed with this recipe. I followed it to a t and still got a soupy mess, like a lot of other reviewers. :(.
    was great and easy to make. I used fresh lemons from the market here in Italy and added some lemon chello. loved this pie
    Failed miserably. Made two soupy pies. Thank God all of my other pies and desserts turned out perfectly. The flavor was delicious, so it was all about the consistency. I also made the crusts from scratch so a lot of time invested. Boo! I will make it again one day and follow the suggestions to cook filling a little longer on stove before adding other ingredientss
    I have to say that I love this recipe! The filling wasn't too sweet or too sour, and my family loved it. This was my first time making Lemon Meringue Pie, but I didn't have any problems with the filling like others. I used all of the measurements but I tweaked the instructions a little. I went to school for baking so that could have helped me.
    I have had the same problem as everyone else: too runny. I have put it back in the oven, hoping it will set up. It is still cooling now. I'll keep you posted.
    Soupy for me too. I followed the advice of taking it off the stove when it thickened and putting it back on for just 1 minute with the egg mixture, but no luck. Try a different recipe.
    I don't understand why people are having problems. I'v made this pie four times, and it was perfect everytime.
    I have found if you cook the filling the 1st time for 2 minutes and again for 2 minutes the second time, it will be perfect.
    Like others, my filling did not set at all. The instructions offer no hints about what state it should be in before adding to the crust, so I assumed it would set during baking and cooling. I have two other pies for the holiday dinner that came out great, but I wanted to have a lemon meringue for my brother who lives far away. I'm seeing if freezing it can help at all, but I'll probably just have to bin the whole thing. :(
    I use a little more cornstarch than what it call for, I make this type not this recipe of filling for a living
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